Cherry Award Finalist Presents "The Art of Exploring Invisible Worlds"

Oct. 23, 2009

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Dr. Edward Burger, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Gaudino Scholar at Williams College, will present "The Art of Exploring Invisible Worlds: Thinking through the Fourth Dimension" at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the Baylor Sciences Building in Room D109 on the Baylor University campus.

Burger is one of three outstanding scholar-teachers from U.S. universities who have been selected as finalist for Baylor's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the single largest award given to an individual for exceptional teaching.

"I'm hoping math lovers and math 'phobes' will be there," Burger said. "I'm trying to offer them a view of mathematical thinking that actually transcends mathematics for everyday life."

The other finalists are Dr. Roger Rosenblatt, Distinguished Professor of English at Stony Brook University in New York, and Dr. Elliott West, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas. As part of the selection process, all Cherry Award finalists present a series of lectures at Baylor.

The Cherry Award was created by Robert Foster Cherry, a 1929 Baylor graduate, who establish the Cherry Award program to recognize excellent teachers and bring them in contact with Baylor students. The winner of the Cherry Award will receive $200,000 and teach in residence at Baylor University during the 2010 fall semester or 2011 spring semester. Baylor University also will give the winner's home department $25,000.

"When I was in a calculus class, there was an actual significant message that I was able to get my students excited and intrigued about, which made the teaching aspect more fulfilling," Burger said.

Burger has taught mathematics at Williams College since 1990. He has received numerous teaching awards, including the 2006 Reader's Digest "100 Best of America" as Best Math Teacher, the 2007 Award of Excellence from Technology & Learning magazine, and the 2001 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College Teaching of Mathematics from the Mathematical Association of America.

"I do believe that teaching is performance art. The most important thing that we can do is be really honest with each other and share the intellectual passion we have for a collection of ideas in a way that is gripping," Burger said.

Burger teaches a short course in comedy writing in addition to his math courses at Williams. He was formerly an independent writer for Jay Leno and a stand-up comic at the Laff Stop Comedy Club in Austin, Texas.

For more information, visit Baylor Sciences Building is located at 101 Bagby Ave. in Waco, Texas.

by Jessica Puente, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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